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New York State sees lowest youth-smoke rate ever

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(WBNG) -- The New York State Department of Health announced just 3% of high school students smoke cigarettes.

According to the Department of Health, this is the lowest youth-smoking rate of all time. It is down from the 27.1% youth-smoking rate in 2000.

State health officials said the Youth Tobacco Survey determined youth tobacco use was down across all tobacco product categories, including a decline in e-cigarette use for the first time.

The Food & Drug Administration declared the use of e-cigarettes an epidemic among youth. They said e-cigarette usage among youth increased 160% from 2014 to 2018. However, between 2018 to 2020, the e-cigarette usage rate among high school students dropped to 22.5% from 27.5%.

Reality Check Coordinator for Tobacco Free Broome & Tioga Nikole Hurlbert said the record-low smoking rate is a result of state and local efforts to curb exposure to secondhand smoke and the creation of tobacco-free places.

However, Hurlburt said the continued use of other tobacco products and vaping is "troubling."

New Yorkers between the ages of 13 to 24 who want to quit vaping can enroll in a free and anonymous text messaging cessation program by texting "DropTheVape" to 88709. All New Yorkers, of any age, can contact the New York Smokers Quitline at 1-866-NYQUITS or go to this link for free and confidential smoking and vaping quit services.

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Matthew Benninger

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